It makes no difference what you do
And it makes no difference where you go
The crowd will always be with you."
--Fairport Convention, "The Crowd"
I still haven't decided if that's a happy song or not, but it grabs me. I'm still glad I bought this CD. (Heard it being played in a science fiction bookstore I was patronizing, heard The Deserter, and knew I had to have it. The CD is well worth the money I paid for it.) Anyway, the point is, I guess, that none of us is ever really alone. And thus, since we're never really alone, we need to account for other people in our actions.
But it goes both ways. You have to allow others to be human, and all the randomness that comes with that. For example, names, phone numbers, birthdays, and other data can easily be forgotten by people who get too busy to recall offhand. For example, if I asked you to tell me when my birthday was right now without looking it up, how many of you could tell me? So, if I have a birthday, and a friend forgets, which seems the wiser course of action: politely reminding them of the occassion, or screaming at them about how awful a person they are? Spider Robinson once said in his Callahans books that "Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased - thus do we refute entropy." The wiser course of action, it would seem, is to take the time to be nice about the minor mishaps.
When I was in Sunday School, back about fifth grade, we had a substitute. She proceeded to tell us that when we tithed, it would be returned to us fivefold. Now, my fifth grade mind thought this was a pretty good deal, if I put a nickel in the offering box, I'd get a shiny new quarter from God. But, of course, it didn't work out that way. (It was the same when I got told Jesus was coming back, I spent the next few weeks wandering around with one eye to the sky...but he never came back, and I was disappointed.) The point of this is not to talk about the amusing theology of fifth graders, but to make a point. Yeah, it didn't quite work out as I'd thought. God didn't rain quarters down on the faithful, it's more subtle than that. We can't just pat ourselves on the back for being nice one time and act callously to our fellow human beings the rest of the time. It's the concept of karma, but I subscribe that even Christians should subscribe to it. Was it not Christ who lay down the two most important pieces of living: "Love the Lord thy God with all your heart and mind and soul" and "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Yeah, we're all going to flub these at times. But isn't this where you show what kind of human being you are, by how you react to flubs -- both yours and others?
Before anybody wonders, no, I don't consider myself a Christian. There's bits of my personal theology that would get me kicked out of most Christian churches, but they're irrevalent to the point. I think Jesus had some pretty important things to say, that's all. I mean, if we could all see that these others are not figments of our imagination, and prone to the same errors and trials that we all are, wouldn't it be a better world?
Yes, I'm naive. But I'm trying to write so that you can have some insight into what makes this human being tick.
Which brings me to my next point. This is a human being who loves language. Trying to express a new concept and stick it together in words always gets me excited. But when using metaphor, one has to be very careful that the concept you're trying to express crosses others minds. Otherwise, your finely crafted metaphor turns into obscure rants about the properties of common household objects.
For example, if I said, "Even duct tape stops being sticky", what concept am I trying to express? Well, obviously, I've invoked the properties of duct tape...so am I saying that even a strong person falls apart? Or am I making wry commentary on the Bush administration's attempt to make people feel safe during the recent orange alert by telling them to go buy duct tape? Or something else entirely? Well, by context, you can make out what I might be trying to say, but that's what makes metaphor so dangerous to play with. And when metaphor stands alone, you're likely to get, "WTF? Duct tape? Relevance?"
And well, that's all I have to say about that, except to express a slight irking about being used in a guilt trip, when the two situations were not congruent at all. I'm upset that two people had to assume it was simply because I didn't care that I didn't take an action. (And may the horror that is Information Systems 206 overtake them.) So where I could have expressed a very nice sentiment here, I don't feel like it. After all, I don't care, right? Not like there's not half a dozen other reasons why an event failed to occur.
I'll leave comments open on this, but as always, I reserve the right to screen or delete or simply fail to respond to them. And I'll point out now that if I come across anything that remotely looks like a sniper act, I will screen it. Remember the concept of being paid back. A small kindness goes a long way in returning kindness to you; the same applies to other types of treatment, both good and bad, and keep that in mind.
And now I'm fetching my laundry and going to bed. G'night LJ world.